The Rickshaw Run 2010

Meet the Team In-dia Straits...

Gavin McKew and Justin McMahon

 

Correna Ford, from the Sunday Sun talks with the lads…


A BRAVE trio has signed up for a race across 3,000km of Indian jungle and desert in a three-wheeled rickshaw – even though none of them have ever even ridden one.

The three excited pals – Paul Seager, of Gosforth, Newcastle, Gavin McKew, 26, of Whitehaven, Cumbria, and Justin McMahon, 28, of Leicester – will endure searing hot temperatures and dangerous wildlife when they take part in the Rickshaw Run 2010.

They won’t be given a map to guide them as they drive across the questionable terrain in a glorified golf-cart with a top speed of 35mph. And they won’t even learn how to drive the contraption until the day before the start date in Cochin on March 28th, a fact which has left family and friends more than a little worried.

The three friends - who were given a taste of what they have let themselves in for when they tried out a tuk tuk owned by the Barn Asia restaurant in Newcastle - are hopeful they can raise thousands of pounds for charity on their journey. Paul, 26, a fire safety adviser at North Tyneside Hospital, said: “We’ve bought a road map and a guide to India and that’s it. “You don’t get a guide to help you, you just set off and they say ‘see you in two weeks’. I’ve never used a rickshaw, let alone driven one. My mum’s going mad. “She’s a bit of a worrier and wonders what we’ve got ourselves into.”

The In-dia Straits team will be among 63 other 150cc rickshaws, or tuk tuks, taking part in the charity race, with each participant paying £1,200 to cover entry, flights and insurance. That amount also covers the cost of the rickshaw, which is built by a team of engineers following designs sent in by each team. Paul has enlisted the help of a designer pal to create a blueprint for their rickshaw, which will include headlights, so they can do a lot of night driving when it is cooler, and a special roof they can sleep on.

He said: “When we get to India we have a driving course, and then we set off the next day... If anyone has a rickshaw we can practise in we’d be grateful. And there’s plenty of room on it for businesses to put their logos if they’d like to sponsor us.’’

“We’re at the mercy of their mechanics basically, and an engine which we won’t see until we’re there.’’

“I’m nervous – especially when you see how people have been injured in past races – but excited as well because we’ve got a fantastic chance to see India, off the beaten track.’’

“We’re plotting a route where we’ll cut across to the west coast, through overgrown jungle onto Goa and Mumbai, then continue north through desert towards the Taj Mahal and end up at the Jaisalmer, which is nicknamed the golden city.

“We’ll be taking it in turns to drive around nine or 10 hours each day and we’ll have to watch out for wildlife, like mosquitoes, snakes, spiders and sacred cows, especially if we’re sleeping rough on the roof!”

The lads hope to raise vast sums of cash for three charities, the India-based Mercy Corp, which will provide help for Jasodapur, a poor rural agricultural village, and FRANK Water Projects, which funds facilities that use the world’s most effective water filtering process.

Closer to home, a portion of the cash raised will also go to Cumbria—based Annie Mawson's Sunbeams Music Trust, a charity that provides Music For Life® to people with special needs throughout the North of England.


The Team's Fundraising Events...

Gavin Singing
Gavin McKew

 

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